Bonta Introduces Legislation Establishing Larry Itliong Day in California

Monday, December 1, 2014

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) announced today that he has introduced AB 7, a bill honoring Larry Itliong, as his first piece of legislation during his second term in office.  AB 7 will establish Larry Itliong Day as a day of special significance in California.  Itliong, a Filipino American labor organizer and farm worker, was the leading force behind the Delano Grape Strike of 1965, a pivotal event which led to the formation of the United Farm Workers of America.  AB 7 requires the Governor to annually proclaim the birthdate of the great labor organizer, October 25, as Larry Itliong Day.  It also encourages public schools and other educational institutions to observe the date by incorporating lessons to remember Itliong’s life and contributions to California.

“Larry Itliong was unquestionably one of the great leaders in our state’s history.  He changed the course of history by standing up for farm workers’ rights.  September 9, 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, one of his greatest accomplishments.  Larry Itliong Day would be a timely and fitting honor to bestow upon his memory next year,” said Assemblymember Bonta.

The bill follows previous work by Bonta to recognize the efforts of the Filipino American community in California.  In 2013 he introduced AB 123 as one of his first bills as a state legislator; the bill required the State Board of Education to ensure that the state curriculum and framework includes the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement.  AB 123 was signed by the Governor in 2013, weeks before what would have been Larry Itliong’s 100th birthday.  As of introduction of AB 7, the framework has been successfully updated.  Funding for the state’s model curriculum is expected to be included in the 2015-16 State Budget.

“It is critical for our state to properly honor those leaders in Californian history who have fought to bring our community the freedoms that we enjoy today.  Currently, we appropriately honor civil rights legends such as Harvey Milk and Fred Korematsu.  As one of the greatest labor organizers and leaders within our state, it is high time that Larry Itliong is added to this list of California heroes,” Bonta concluded.

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro.  He is Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee and the Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay. Bonta is also a member of the Assembly Health, Transportation, Banking & Finance, and Elections & Redistricting Committees.